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Sales price of northwest Ohio homes in December tumbles as sales rise

Sales of existing houses in Lucas County rose 10 percent last month from a year earlier, even as the average sales price for those homes fell by a third, according to the Toledo Board of Realtors.

In December, 307 houses sold in the county at an average price of $78,000, compared to 279 properties a year ago that sold for an average cost of $116,000, the board said yesterday.

For all of 2008 in Lucas County, sales dropped 9 percent to 4,141 units and the average sales price tumbled 11 percent to $106,000.

For a multicounty northwest Ohio region, the board said, the number of sales declined 3 percent last month from December, 2007, and the average sale price fell 23 percent, to $90,000.

For 2008 regionwide, house sales fell 13 percent from 2007, to 6,451, and the average sale price dipped 10 percent to $111,000.

Generally, the report showed lower-priced properties grabbed the bulk of the sales, which contributed to the slump in prices.

Ken Marciniak, Toledo Board of Realtors' president-elect, said market activity is concentrated among the lower-cost properties "because of foreclosures and the speculators coming out.

"But before you can get the big properties moving, you've got to get the small ones moving. It's like a reverse snowball effect."

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